Archives from 2008

End Of Season Report – 2008

Published in Navy Polo on 03 Dec 2008

AFTER a successful season in 2007, the declared aim for 2008 was to retain the focus on the next generation of RN players by maintaining the structured programme of team training, designed to bring on both the experienced and the novice players together, and continue the ‘Junior Development scheme’, where a team of three inexperienced RN players, captained by a professional, was entered in eight club tournaments throughout the season.

As ever, the number of RN players available for the season was significantly affected by the operational programme but a core squad of 10 players, namely Richard Mason, Adrian Aplin, Arnie Lustman, Al Wilson, Mike Bowen, Nick Phillips, Giles Hadland, Bob Santrian, Drew Stacey and Tom Burrows were available for some, if not all, of the season.

The RN season began on Friday 18th April with the first of the squad training events. Continuing with the 2007 programme of excellent tutelage by Jason Dixon, a 6 goal former England Captain, the squad met at Tidworth to start this year’s training programme. Last year Jason concentrated exclusively on team play but for the first 2 sessions this year much of the time was spent improving individual skills, before moving on to the discipline of marking, positioning, set-piece and reactive plays.

The first fixture of the season on Saturday 26th April was the Kumar Cup against Eton. As usual, Eton produced a very competent and competitive young side, and the -2 Goal Navy team of Mason, Lustman, Wilson and Phillips faced a very handy 0 Goal Eton side. In the first chukka Eton were quick off the mark and scored 2 goals before the RN settled down; but the Navy then found a rhythm and began to dominate the chukka, Mason scoring twice, to leave the score at 3_ – 2 at the end of the chukka. In the 2nd chukka Mason was temporarily replaced by Simon Maddison and his absence was sorely felt with Eton scoring twice to put the score at 4 – 3_ at half time. In the 3rd chukka the Navy improved and once again started to dominate. Mason scored a good goal but Eton also found the posts. The last chukka started with Eton leading 5 – 4_; the RN pulled out all the stops but unfortunately, although they scored, Eton converted 2 penalties to run out the winners 7 – 5_ at the final whistle. Nevertheless, it was a good showing against an extremely competent Eton team.

The next fixture was the RN weekend which, on a pleasantly sunny afternoon on Saturday 31 May, commenced with the Sacher Cup against Millfield. The -5 goal RN team of Lustman, Wilson, Hadland and Phillips faced a -4 goal Millfield side so knew they would have their work cut out. Sure enough, the well mounted and well drilled Millfield team were the first to score and, despite some spirited RN defending soon extended their lead with a second goal. However, the Navy also had some good attacks and an aggressive run by Lustman resulted in a penalty which Wilson successfully converted to claw a goal back before the chukka ended. Unfortunately that was the only RN goal of the match and in the subsequent 3 chukkas Millfield steadily scored at a rate of 2 goals per chukka to win the game 8 – 1_.

The following day the RN met Taunton for the Kemble Salver Tournament. Preceded once again by the excellent lunch organised by Colin MacGregor and Robert Guy, this was the first run out for the Rundle Cup team of Mason, Aplin, Lustman and Wilson. Regrettably the RN never really got off the starting blocks and Taunton dominated the first half entirely, scoring 6 goals. The Navy improved in the second half and scored 2 goals (Mason and Lustman) but Taunton scored 3 and comfortably won 9 – 2. This was a particularly muddled and lacklustre performance by the RN, emphasising how much needed to be done if they were to avoid annihilation at the Rundle Cup.

After some painful negotiations following a misunderstanding of the entry process, the first round of the Inter Regimental Tournament took place on Wed 18 Jun with the RN facing a team from Land Command. The Navy team of Mason, Aplin, Lustman and Wilson faced a -5 goal Army side led by Justin Stanhope-White. Starting with a 3_ goal deficit on handicap, the RN knew that there was no room for complacency if they were to progress to the next round. The Navy consequently started hard and Mason was the first to open the scoring. This was followed by an excellent goal by Aplin and a few moments later a good pass by Aplin allowed Lustman to run the ball to goal and notch up the third. The Army then retaliated and capitalised on an error in an RN attack which allowed Stanhope-White to steal the ball and claim a goal for Land Command. However, just before the chukka end, a long shot from Lustman was finished off by Wilson to leave the tally at 4_ – 4 at the bell. The second chukka was scrappy and the RN only found the posts on one occasion (Mason). The third chukka was worse; the Navy allowed Land to muddle the play and close down the game. In the final chukka the RN rallied and played in a more disciplined and structured manner to entirely dominate the field. 5 goals were scored (3 by Aplin and 2 by Mason) and the score was 10 – 4_ at the final whistle. Although winning comfortably, this was not a good showing by the RN and Jason Dixon subsequently provided a detailed and constructive debrief.

The next fixture was the semi final of the Inter Regimental tournament where the RN faced a 2 goal KRH side consisting of three 1 goalers and a competent -1. Starting with a 1_ goal lead on handicap, the RN knew this would be a very testing contest and they would have to play a tight, disciplined game, focussed on marking, if they were to avoid a rout. The Navy began well and each player dominated his man from the start. The KRH were first to score but the RN had their share of attacking runs, one of which resulted in a penalty which Aplin successfully converted. However, the KRH scored a second goal to put the score at 2_ – 2 at chukka end. The second and third chukkas had no score as the Navy successfully closed down the KRH. In the final chukka the RN started well with Aplin scoring a second penalty but the Army also scored and, seconds from the final whistle, they were awarded a penalty which the successfully converted to win by half a goal, 4 – 3_. Disappointed as they were to lose by such a small margin after leading all game, the RN drew praise from those watching for their excellent performance against a much stronger side.

In a departure from previous years’ practice, the Rundle Cup team entered a tournament in the New Forest on 5/6 July as part of their training programme for the Rundle Cup on the following weekend. So on Saturday 5th July Mason, Aplin, Lustman and Wilson met at New Park in Brockenhurst to play Peter Barfoot’s Maize Dulce team. Maize Dulce is a very well established and competent 0 goal team which had won their last 15 matches so the RN knew they were at a disadvantage. Starting with _ a goal on handicap, they Navy began well and closed down Maize Dulce, with no score in the first chukka. In the second chukka both sides scored leaving the RN in the lead 1_ – 1 at half time. The RN maintained the pressure in the third chukka, and, although Maize Dulce had many attacking runs, the Navy prevented them from scoring. Unfortunately in the last minute of the final chukka Maize Dulce found the posts to run out winners, 2 – 1_ at the final whistle. Despite losing, the RN were justifiably pleased with their teamwork, their second good performance which maintained them on the correct curve for the Rundle Cup. Unfortunately the final scheduled practice match, planned for the following day, was cancelled due to appalling weather.

The highlight of the season, the Rundle Cup, took place on Sat 12 July. Contrary to established practice, this year the Army fielded a team with a significantly stronger handicap than the Navy. Since 2002, when The Prince of Wales ceased playing for the RN, the Army have been lobbying to raise the handicap level of the fixture to allow them to field their best players. Accepting that the Navy were not able to follow suit, the Army had offered to allow the RN to bring in a ‘hired hand’ to match the Army handicap but the RN maintained that they would prefer to continue the practice of using serving Sailors or Marines for the Rundle Cup. Thus the -1 Goal Navy team of Richard Mason, Adrian Aplin, Arnie Lustman and Al Wilson knew they would have their work cut out to beat the much stronger (and younger) 3 Goal Army team of Captains Paul Blakiston, Philip Kaye, Quentin Hicks and Lieutenant Colonel Mike O’Dwyer.

Starting with 2_ goals on handicap, and having trained and played well in their last 2 matches, the RN knew that they could effect a surprise although the odds were certainly against them. Consequently, from the first throw-in, the Navy played aggressively and exploited a surprising lack of team cohesion in the Army to generate a constant stream of attacking runs. Tight teamwork soon paid off and Mason was the first to score. 2 minutes later Aplin had an excellent run for almost the length of the field and added another goal. The Navy continued to dominate in the 2nd chukka and, despite an Army goal, extended their lead with 2 further RN goals; Lustman completed a Navy attack with a very clean shot under his horse’s neck and Aplin broke through a heavily defended Army goal to bring the tally to 6_ – 1 at half time.

The RN were not complacent and knew the Army were finding their form. In the 3rd chukka the play, as expected, swung away from the Navy but they managed to effectively contain the Army despite conceding a goal. In the final chukka the Army completely dominated the play, scoring 3 goals, but the RN fought back valiantly to hang on and led by a goal and a half at the final whistle. This was a wonderfully pleasing result. The Army had hoped to embarrass the RN and force the use of a professional in future years but the Navy demonstrated how a structured programme of team training and practice could produce a disciplined side that punched well above its weight to overcome a talented but individual capability.

The next fixture was the Captains’ and Subalterns’ Tournament on 19/20 July, which this year consisted of 14 teams. With a handicap of -6, the RN team of Hadland, Philips, Burrows (in his first formal appearance for the RN) and captained by Lustman were in the highest league of the 3 divisions but knew they would be hard pressed to retain the trophy they had won in 2007. On Saturday they had two 2 chukka matches, the first against a team from RMA Sandhurst. The RN started confidently and Hadland completed a strong attack to open the scoring. RMAS retaliated but Lustman added a second goal to the RN tally before the end of the chukka. In the 2nd chukka the play deteriorated and the game became quite bogged down but neither side scored so the final whistle found the Navy leading 2 – 1_. In the 2nd match of the afternoon the RN met the Royal Wessex Yeomanry who, as a -2 goal team, were the competition favourites by a clear margin. Despite marking well and playing up to their handicap, the RN were fundamentally outclassed and the Yeomanry won the game 5 – 1_.

The following day the RN played the Coldstream Guards. Matched on handicap, the Navy dominated the first chukka and had the lion share of attacks. Phillips was the first to score and the chukka ended with the Navy leading 1 – 0. The second chukka was more evenly matched and the Guards scored a goal to bring the tally to 1 – 1 at half time. The third chukka was the Navy’s. They effectively neutralised the Army and Lustman scored to put the RN into the lead at 2 – 1 by the end of the 3rd quarter. The final chukka was exciting and hard fought as the Army battled to equalise. The Navy defended well but unfortunately it deteriorated in the last 2 minutes and the Guards scored twice to win 3 – 2. All in all, whilst it was always going to be disappointing not to repeat last year’s success, this junior Navy team did well to finish 4th out of 14 teams.

On Saturday 26 July the RN faced the RAF for the Duke of York Tournament. Despite being similarly matched on handicap, the RN knew they were favourites following the win at the Rundle Cup but were very aware of just how easy it would be for the RAF to pull off a surprise victory. The embarrassment would be excruciating! Consequently the Navy team of Wilson, Lustman, Aplin and Mason were somewhat anxious not to let the very capable RAF team of Gp Capt Tim Brown, Sqn Ldr Martin Adcock, Wg Cdr Mark Smith and Flt Lt Ellie Hoogewerf have the day. As if to prove the point, the RAF attacked from the throw-in and were first to score with an excellent run by Tim Brown. But the RN retaliated and began to get into their stride, scoring 3 goals (Mason, Wilson and Aplin) to lead 3 – 1_ by the end of the chukka. The second chukka was messy but Aplin scored a further goal before half time and in a bad tempered third chukka the RN extended their lead with goals from Lustman and Aplin, although the RAF scored once from a penalty. The final chukka was hard fought. The RAF scored a further goal when no-one was looking but the Navy found the posts on 3 occasions (2 from Aplin and 1 from Mason) to lead comfortably 9 – 3_ at the final whistle. This was a rather ragged performance by the Navy who never really found their form but a 9 – 3_ win is not a bad result and it is always satisfying to beat the RAF.

The final official fixture of the season was the Faulkner Cup at Taunton on Sunday 7 September. Preceded as usual by an excellent lunch given by Debbie and Adrian Aplin, a -2 goal team of Mason, Aplin, Lustman and Hadland faced a very competent -1 goal team from TVPC thus began with _ goal lead. Taunton started quickly, scoring a field goal in the opening minutes but the Navy rallied and contained the Taunton onslaught and Mason scored just before the end of the chukka. The second chukka continued in the same vein, Taunton having the run of the play but the RN defended well and prevented any score. In the third chukka the RN started to gain momentum but still neither side scored. The match was now finely poised for the final chukka; in end to end play Aplin scored an excellent goal but Taunton then scored 3 goals to put the score at 4 – 2_ at the final whistle. As is usual at this match, Emma Roe kindly awarded the Neville Trophy for the Most Improved Young Player, this year to Giles Hadland.

This completed another very successful season for the Royal Navy. Although we only won four of our 10 fixtures, we regained the Rundle Cup for the first time since 2004, beating a much better Army side. We comprehensively beat the RAF for the Duke of York’s Trophy and although we were not able to repeat last year’s win of the Captains and Subalterns’ Cup, a junior Navy team acquitted themselves very well to come 4th out of 14 teams. Under Jason Dixon’s tutelage we continued to improve the standard of polo played in the RN and sustained last year’s progress in bringing on the next generation of players.

Now in its second year, the RNPA Junior Development Scheme also had a good season, playing in 6 predominantly -6 to -2 tournaments at Tidworth. Using a 2 goal professional as the anchor, it has allowed the younger players to develop their individual skills whilst working together as a team in free-flowing and structured games. Notwithstanding the high number of our junior squad deployed on operations, we still managed to bring 5 new players into the RNPA – namely Drew Stacey, Tom Burrows, Neil Atkinson, Rob Wickham and John Darcy, thereby bringing the RN squad up to 24 players, which is positive for the future of RN polo. We must record our especial thanks to Temeraire, the RNRMEA and the CSPA for their generous assistance, allowing us to continue these initiatives designed to assure the future of polo in the RN.

The focus for next season will be to build on the successes of 08, continue to extend the current Junior Development players so that they progress to play in core-RN matches and attract as many new RN players as possible into the sport.

End Of Season Meeting 2008

Published in RAF on 30 Nov 2008

The Chairman welcomed the members to the End of Season meeting and thanked them for attending. The pertinent points drawn out from the 08 season were as follows:

  • A promising number of people had come into the sport, predominantly thanks to the efforts of OIC Development, who organized a 3-day introductory course as well as regular chukkas for beginners in the Cranwell area.
  • The Chairman congratulated Wg Cdr Bambridge on going up a handicap at the end of the season, from -1 to 0, despite her injuries from the previous year.
  • With regards to new members, he suggested contacting Clarence House to gauge whether William Wales would be interested in playing for the RAF.
  • Finally the introduction of subsidies for beginners playing up in the Cranwell area as well as for representative pony owners has proven a success and will be kept in place until further notice.

1. The Chairman started by expressing his gratitude on behalf of the whole association to the Treasurer for the clarity of the RAFPA Accounts.
2. The treasurer gave his end of season report. He stated that funding for the association increased from £8300 in 07 to £11850 in 08 but cautioned that whilst this went some way to meeting the running costs of the association, a personal contribution of £3600 along with £2000 from our sponsorship fund had been used over the past year. Whilst sustainable for a further year, any successive years would require either an increase in funding from the RAFSB/Sponsorship or a reduction in fixtures.
3. It was reported that there were still some outstanding account actions for the year including a Brett Horsepower payment still awaiting invoice and payments from both the Sports Development Fund and Equipment Fund which would be cleared within the next fortnight.
4. Expenditure for 08 was £17400 up from £8100 in 07 but the EGM were reminded that this was solely due to the revised accountancy procedures introduced for 2008, to ensure that all Op Costs incurred by the association are reflected in the accounts (ie pony hire costs that are largely bourn by the individual).
5. Having used £2000 from the sponsorship fund to cover the Op Costs overspend the treasurer informed the EGM that £3400 will be carried forward to next season reflecting a £840 loss over the season.
6. The treasurer reported that bidding for 09 Equipment/5yr plan was agreed and that Sports Development Fund was due. Further it was stated that the RAFSB had decided not to hold a formal bidding process for Op Costs 09 and that this could potentially disadvantage the association.
7. The treasurer closed by seeking approval of the accounts, which was unanimously agreed.
8. Decision. The Equipment Fund for 09 would stand at £1700. Ideas on how to make the best value out of it to be brought forward at the AGM. Suggested help new players with initial equipment.
9. Decision. The Chairman and Treasurer will lobby the RAF Sports Board at Halton especially with respect to the 09 Op Costs grant.
10. Decision. The £1000 remaining in the Development Fund was to be transferred to the Tidworth ‘behind the bar’ scheme, towards subsidising both practice and instructional chukkas for developing players.
11. Decision. It was agreed the subsidy rate at Tidworth was to be increased back up from £10 to £20 per chukka to come in line with the Navy.

1. New players. This season, 5 new players had shown considerable enthusiasm, commitment and promise for the future. Three were introduced to polo at Cranwell through OIC Development, and the other 2 had approached the association mid season from Benson. This was a positive influx and the Committee was keen to ensure a steady support system was in place to get these developing players on the pitch and improving as quickly as possible.
2. Courses available. OIC Development had arranged for a 3-day introductory course to take place at Leadenham Polo Club, near Cranwell for £300 pp. A further course would be organised at the same location in 09 following the positive uptake the previous year. Beginner and advanced courses were still available at Tidworth, and the PR Rep added that military discounts were also available at Inglesham Polo Club.
3. Subsidies. The Treasurer stated that the subsidy rate could be increased back up to £20 per chukka per person both at Leadenham and Tidworth, thus bringing the RAF back in line with the Navy. This would be reassessed mid season according to uptake. At this point this subsidy does not apply to match chukkas, the latter to be revisited at the AGM.
4. Scholarship. The Committee was keen to encourage committed and talented young players, and to this end a scholarship was discussed. The Treasurer advised that although individuals could not be granted money, their local club could invoice the Association.
5. Decision. A scholarship of £400 would be awarded to SAC Turner-Wright as the most promising young player. The scholarship would be paid to Offchurch Polo Club to subsidise chukkas and lessons during the season.
4. Article. The Chairman congratulated the PR Rep on the Active article she wrote. It was decided a further article would be useful, giving step by step details on what to do if you want to learn to play polo, and how the Association can help.
5. Membership Fee. It was decided that a membership fee would be applied from the 09 season onwards. £10 for Other Ranks, £20 for Officers. A list of members would be put behind the bar at both Tidworth and Leadenham, and only those on it will qualify for the chukka subsidy.
6. End of Season Development Fixture. OIC Development suggested putting on an RAF v RAF exhibition match at the Cranwell Equestrian Day in Sep 09. Fixture to be confirmed at the AGM after further investigation.

1. The Treasurer stated that the Op Cost Fund was set up to cover 14 fixtures per season. He suggested revisiting the fixture list to tailor the training and added that two teams had cancelled shortly before their match in 08.
2. Decision. The fixture list was to be divided in two, allowing 7 fixtures for each team. This would provide a good run up to their respective main fixtures of the season, namely the Duke of York and the Captain and Subalterns. The Milfield match was to be cancelled since they had been unable to provide a team for two consecutive seasons. The President’s Cup proved a useful team run-out before the Capt and Subs, and it was also decided to enter an RAF team into the Inter-Regimental Cup for the first time.
3. The fixture list to be as follows:

  • Senior Team: Cranwell(2), Inter-Regimental(2), Crabs v Cavs, Cornwell Affiliates, Duke of York.
  • Junior Team: Eton, Cranwell(2), President’s Cup(2), Capt and Subs(2)

4. Dates to be confirmed with Tidworth at their pre-season meeting in Feb.

1. OIC Development proposed organizing a tour for 6 people to Sotogrande Polo Club, near Gibraltar, 16-23 Mar 09. The tour would consist of 7 days training, stick and balling each morning and playing chukkas in the afternoon, leading to a match on the final day. Members would stay at Gibraltar Officers’ Mess, situated within a 20min drive from the Polo Club. Transport would be provided by hiring two cars or a minibus, and Easyjet fly into Gibraltar. The tour would also include a battlefield tour of Op Phoenix.
2. After initial research and negotiation, the costs came to approx £1,750 per person, with the main burden being the training, pony and ground hire and coaching costs, which amount to £1,550 per person.
3. Personal contribution would ideally amount to no more than £1,000 per person, and OIC Development would apply to the Sports Board, CSPA, Sponsorship fund and each station to contribute to the costs of the tour and staff ride.
4. Decision. It was agreed that OIC Development should go ahead and arrange the tour as per the details above. The tour was to be open to all members, and a £100 deposit would be requested to allow flights and hire cars to be booked early. The Committee thanked Flt Lt Black for taking the time to organise the 09 Tour.

1. OIC Development was keen to confirm the format and teams for the Cranwell Weekend in 09. The dates were confirmed for 1-3 May 09.
2. Decision. The weekend had proved a success each year, and the format would remain the same as the previous year with some minor improvements as well as a greater emphasis on military polo.

  • Fri 1 May. Introduction to Polo for new members in the afternoon, as well as team selection and training. Coach to be confirmed. AGM at 6pm in CHOM, followed by a meet and greet in CHOM bar.
  • Sat 2 May.
    -2 to 0 RAF v Rutland
    -6 to -4 RAF v Army, RAF v Navy
    Players Dinner, CHOM
  • Sun 3 May.
    Final RAF v Rutland
    Final RAF v Army, RAF v Navy

3. Tasks.

  • OIC Development: investigate possibility of bringing in professional Umpires, invite the teams.
  • Sec: invite Sqn Ldr (Ret) Robert Burke to commentate and if possible coach the training session on Fri afternoon. Send the list of those members who qualify for the award of RAF Colours to the RAFSB.
  • Tour Coordinator: ensure the Trophy was delivered to OIC Development.
  • PR Rep: advertise the Fri taster day as well as the weekend tournament, design the programmes and provide the prizes.
  • Chairman: liaise with the Stn Cdr at Cranwell to investigate the possibility of using the practice ground behind the sports track for the Fri training. Present RAF Colours at the Players’ Dinner. Present the Scholarship to the most promising developing player of the 08 Season.

1. Sponsorship. The Treasurer had approached the President during the Season on the subject of sponsorship suggesting that a sponsorship of ~£2000 per year would be needed if no additional RAF Sports Board funding was forthcoming. The Chairman agreed to check with the President on progress.
2. Meetings. The Treasurer thought that the Committee should meet more than twice a season to evaluate progress. A mid season committee meeting was suggested, and would be arranged if required.
3. Training Days. In order to capture the most number of people, it was suggested that training should not just be centred around Tidworth and Cranwell, but at different locations across the country. It was thus decided that a pre-season, pre-tour training day would be arranged at Druids Lodge Polo Club, and further training days at Maywood and Inglesham.

The next meeting is the AGM, to be held at 18:00 on Friday 1st May 2009 at the Officers’ Mess, RAF Cranwell.


Published in Army Polo on 29 Nov 2008

The APOLOA Annual General Meeting was held at the KRH Officers’ Mess in Aliwal Barracks, Tidworth, on Friday 29 February 2008.

Click here to view Minutes

Adjutant General’s Corps Polo Cup July 2008

Published in Army Polo on 30 Jul 2008

2008 has been a fantastic year for AGC Polo. Not only did the AGC hold its own polo tournament at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, but the AGC polo team that entered the Captains’ and Subalterns’ Cup at Tidworth Polo Club won their division, beating the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment in the final.

These are remarkable achievements when looking back just five years ago, AGC Polo consisted of five Army lawyers, led by Major David Phillips and Major Victoria Phillips. Five years on, both officers own their own polo ponies and are still at the forefront of AGC Polo (juggling family life with the birth of their son Edward, two years ago).

Major Gillian Shaw (SPS) joined them four years ago, becoming the AGC Polo Secretary and team Captain. With the Phillips’ help, and a number of other committed individuals, Gillian has nutured and developed AGC Polo. It now boasts over 20 players of all ranks across all branches of the AGC.

“Without the help of the Combined Services and also the Army Polo Association, the AGC wouldn’t have been able to achieve so much,” said Gillian. “We have always been made to feel very welcome within the CSPA and APOLOA, and Brigadier John Wright at the Combined Services Polo Club at Tidworth. We have had excellent tuition and support from Mr Sean Dayus and we are very much helped and encouraged by the AGC Sports Board and Regimental Headquarters.”

Held in support of ‘Phil’s Million’ Help for Heroes ( the AGC Polo Cup was held at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on 13 July. The first match was between the AGC Red Team and 47 Regiment Royal Artillery, the AGC Reds running away with victory 7 – 0. The second match saw the AGC White Team being beaten by London University Officer Cadet Team, led by Major Tom Petersen 9 –0. Elbows and boots were spread liberally as the RMAS Cadets took on the RMAS Members in the final match of the day. A low scoring game in the end, but highly energetic and charged with pride as the two teams battled it out in the first of three chukkas. The score finished 3_ – 2 to the RMAS Members.

The AGC Polo Cup was presented to the team who scored the most goals, therefore London UOTC had pipped the AGC Red Team to the post. Major James Gaselee, the RMAS Polo Officer and OCdt Richard Holtum provided excellent commentary throughout the day, and Miss Barbara Zingg the RMAS Polo Manager helped Major Gillian Shaw round the clock to organise the event. Sponsors included La Chamiza Wines, Blacklocks Bookshop, La Martina, Roxtons, Style Exchange and Seamless Events.

The icing on the cake for AGC Polo was winning their division at the Captains’ and Subalterns Cup at Tidworth Polo Club on July 19/20 . The team consisting of Maj Gillian Shaw, Capt Aishling Lyford, Lt Janet Johnson and Cpl Kolin Ralph beat 47 Regiment Royal Artillery, 6 – 1 on the first day of the tournament. The second day of the tournament and a win against the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment was a dream come true for the all girls team. Cpl Kolin Ralph came off his horse on day one and so battered and bruised, Maj Victoria Phillips stepped in and came to the rescue. Winning 5 – 3 they were absolutely thrilled.

The year has also seen Maj Gillian Shaw and Lt Janet Johnston play for the Army Team at RAF Cranwell, Janet scoring a number of goals to ensure the Army Team beat their RAF opponents.

The Ladies’ Army Polo Team also made its debut at the Ladies’ Heritage Cup at RMAS during the summer months, coming runners-up in a much higher level of polo than used to. The team comprised Maj Victoria Phillips, Maj Rachael De Renzy Chenner, Capt Aishling Lyford, Capt Lucy Anderson and Lt Janet Johnson.

Major Gillian Shaw can be contacted at

Mabway Captains & Subalterns Tournament

Published in Army Polo on 19 Jul 2008

A RECORD-BREAKING 14 teams took part in this year”s hugely successful MabWay Captains & Subalterns Polo Tournament.

The event was played at Tidworth Polo Club over the July 19 and 20 weekend, with the entrants coming from throughout all three services.

And the polo played over the two days was of a far better standard than the tournament has seen in recent years, emphasising how the Captains & Subalterns has grown with MabWay on board.

The tournament had three seedings which culminated in the finals’ day on Tidworth’s excellent Fisher Ground.

In Division One the teams included The Royal Wessex Yeomanry, RAF, Coldstream Guards, Royal Navy, Light Dragoons and Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. The Royal Wessex Yeomanry were up against the RAF for the coveted trophy and it was RWxY who ran out winners by the slim margin of five goals to three.

In Division Two, the Adjutant Generals Corp beat the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment by five goals to two, and in Division Three it was the Grenadier Guards who were victorious over the Royal Dragoon Guards with the score 1-1_

Chairman of the Army Polo Association, Lt Col Simon Ledger, was delighted with the success of the tournament and paid tribute to MabWay for their support.

Berenberg Bank United Services Cup & Hackett Inter-regimental Final

Published in Army Polo on 15 Jul 2008

TWO finals, one venue, made for a thrilling climax to the Chapple Cup Series and the oldest tournament in polo.

FOR the second year running – and for only the second time in its history – the Chapple Cup went to the visiting team, leaving the CSPA empty-handed.

This year it was The British Forces Foundation polo team – the sport’s equivalent of cricket’s Lord Taverners – who took the honours.

Having thrashed the CSPA side at the Hackett Rundle Cup Day at Tidworth, they then repeated the feat, albeit in a much closer game, at the Berenberg Bank Finals Day at Guards Polo Club, 24 hours later.

The BFF polo team evolved from Mark Cann’s ‘Leopards’ team playing very badly at the turn of the century. The players get together in aid of the Charity and have included the likes of Hollywood legend Tommy Lee Jones, rock stars Mike Rutherford from Genesis and Kenny Jones (The Who and Small Faces), HRH The Prince of Wales, Prince William, Prince Harry, George Milford Haven and polo greats like the Englishmen Howard and Julian Hipwood, Adam Snow, plus Gabrielle Donoso, and the amazing Argentine Nachos Figueras.

The team come together for a few matches a year, raising money for the Foundation in both America and the UK. The BFF Polo Trophy is competed for every year at different and wonderfully varying venues such as Houston, Richmond Virginia, Palm Beach and Tidworth and has been won by some illustrious teams like Isla Carrol and Gololphin.

The team who squared up against the CSPA the day before at Tidworth for the ICOA Trophy consisted of Pedro Lopez–Valido 1, The Hon Tristan Phillimore 1, Ben Vestey 3 and Mark Cann 0. They dominated from the start and relentlessly increased their stranglehold on the game, snuffing out any hopes that the CSPA may have had of making a comeback. The final score 9 goals to 4_.

But at Guards, with the United Services Cup up for grabs and the overall Chapple Cup Series, the CSPA fielded a stronger side determined to share the honours. However, in an excellent spectacle, they were ultimately out-gunned and it was the unchanged Charity team who ran out victors by 10 goals to 7.

There was more action on the field with the Hackett Inter-Regimental Final between the King’s Royal Hussars and the Royal Wessex Yeomanry. The RWxY defended their crown winning the final by 6 goals to 4_.

Berenberg Bank Finals Day: Click for photos

Hackett Rundle Cup Day

Published in Army Polo on 14 Jul 2008

THE 2008 Hackett Rundle Cup Day at Tidworth Polo Club proved yet another memorable event in the polo calendar.

THE Royal Navy pulled off one of the biggest shocks in recent Hackett Rundle Cup Day history giving the Army a bloody nose to lift the coveted title.

The two and a half goal handicap suggested that the team in blue would be overwhelmed as soon as the match got underway – but far from it.

It was the Navy who took the game by the scruff of the neck. Captain Richard Mason was imperious at the back but also opened the scoring. Goals also followed from Aplin (two) and Lustman with the only riposte before half-time coming from the Army’s main man Lt Col Michael O’Dwyer.

They started the third chukka with the scores at 6_ goals to 1 and, in torrential rain, there was just one more addition to the scoreboard courtesy of the Army’s Capt Phillip Kaye. Mason nullified all other threats and with just one chukka remaining the result looked a foregone conclusion.

However, the Navy had spent all their firepower and the Army sensed the chance of a dramatic comeback. Kaye spearheaded the attack slotting three more goals to set up a thrilling climax.

But although they had the momentum behind them, time wasn’t on their side and the Navy held firm in the dying seconds to run out memorable winners by 6_ goals to 5.

Earlier in the afternoon the crowds were treated to another exciting – if slightly one-sided – game in the ICOA Trohpy fixture, sponsored by DRS Technologies, between The British Forces Foundation and the CSPA.

The British Forces Foundation polo team – the equivalent of cricket’s Lord Taverners – were triumphant. Pedro Lopez–Valido 1, The Hon Tristan Phillimore 1, Ben Vestey 3 and Mark Cann 0 dominated from the start and relentlessly increased their stranglehold on the game, snuffing out any hopes that the CSPA may have had of making a comeback.

The 2008 Hackett Rundle Cup Day at Tidworth Polo Club was yet another triumph for polo, spectators and organisers alike.

Thousands of people soaked up the unique atmosphere. Events had begun with the Jockeys versus Eventers clash in aid of the charity Inspire, and the crowds were also treated to a freefall parachute display.

During the prize-giving, the PQ Saddle – awarded to a member of the Combined Services who has significantly contributed to the work of the CSPA – went to Cdr Adrian Aplin MBE.

Hackett Rundle Cup
ARMY (3 goals): 1 – Lt Matthew Blakiston (Light Dragoons) 0; 2 – Capt Phillip Kaye (Kings Royal Hussars) 1; 3 – Capt Quentin Hicks (Kings Royal Hussars) 1; Back – Lt Col Michael O’Dwyer (Irish Guards) 1.
ROYAL NAVY (-1 goal): 1 – Lt Cdr Allan Wilson -1; 2 – Cdr Arnie Lustman 0; 3 – Cdre Richard Mason 0; Back – Cdr Adrian Aplin 0.

Indian Cavalry Officers Trophy
CSPA: Squadron Leader Martin Adcock 0, Major Rupert Lewis 1, Major Tom Moon 2, Colonel Justin Stanhope-White 1
The British Forces Foundation: Pedro Lopez–Valido 1, The Hon Tristan Phillimore 1, Ben Vestey 3, Mark Cann 0

For the Hackett Rundle Cup Day photo galleries click here

Cranwell Polo Weekend

Published in RAF on 01 May 2008

This year’s polo extravaganza is set for May 1st to 3rd. Training and team trials will be on Friday afternoon from 13:00, followed by a tri-service tournament (-4 to -6 goal) on the Saturday and Sunday. Everyone welcome, including beginners. Please contact Flt Lt Dave Black on 95751 Ext 6332.

Tidworth Polo Club

Published in News on 15 Feb 2008

TIDWORTH Polo Club has unveiled its list of courses for the 2008 season aimed at individuals or corporate clients looking to learn to play polo. Download


Published in News on 14 Feb 2008

THE CSPA Annual General Meeting took place on Thursday February 14 2008 at the Cavalry & Guards Club, London.

Download the Minutes.